India is one of the world’s leading pepper-producing countries in the world. Indian cuisine cannot be completed without pepper. The flavour that pepper brings to every dish is irreplaceable. But do you already know all about Indian pepper? This article will give you information about the production, types and market of Indian pepper.
Origin of Indian pepper
The origin of pepper (Piper nigrum) is believed to be from the Western Ghats of India, where the Indian pepper has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is a tropical vine that grows in a wide range of climates, and it is now widely cultivated in other tropical regions around the world, such as Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam, and other countries in South and Southeast Asia.
Pepper was one of the earliest spices known to mankind and it was highly prized by ancient civilizations for its unique flavor and medicinal properties. It was also used as a form of currency and was heavily traded along the ancient spice routes. The Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians all knew of pepper and it was considered a luxury item.
Benefits of eating Indian pepper
Indian pepper is a nutritious and flavorful food that is commonly used in Indian cuisine. Here are some potential benefits of eating black pepper:
- May improve digestion: Pepper contains capsaicin, a compound that may stimulate the production of digestive juices and help to improve digestion.
- May boost the immune system: Pepper is a good source of vitamin C, which is important for a healthy immune system.
- May reduce inflammation: Capsaicin, the compound that gives pepper its heat, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help to reduce inflammation in the body.
- May help with weight loss: Some research suggests that the capsaicin in pepper may help to boost metabolism and reduce appetite, which may be beneficial for weight loss.
- May lower blood pressure: Some studies have shown that consuming pepper may help to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension.
It’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of Indian pepper. As with any food, it’s important to consume pepper in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
The production of Indian pepper
Indian pepper is produced from the Piper nigrum plant. In the tropical climate of India, it is easy for the pepper plant to grow. Depending on different areas, it takes 5 to 8 months for the peppercorns to fully mature. The Indian pepper is normally harvested after 7 to 8 months.
Types of pepper are categorized based on the harvest time of pepper. There are white pepper and black pepper, green peppercorn and red peppercorn
- Green peppercorn gets harvested before the peppercorns are fully mature. The berries can be eaten fresh or brined.
- Black pepper gets harvested when the peppercorns are fully mature yet not fully ripe. The pepper is green or yellow and turns black when dried.
- Red peppercorn and white pepper get harvested when the peppercorns have turned red and have fully ripened.
It is not a terrible thing if unripe black pepper is gathered. In fact, the concentration of essential oil and piperine in peppercorns increases until the peppercorns achieve full maturity. They then decline during the ripening period. Piperine is the major flavor component of pepper that gives it its spicy flavor.
The Indian pepper was traditionally removed from the spikes by trampling with the legs. Of course, this is not particularly sanitary. Mechanical threshers can now be utilized for this purpose.
Before drying, the red peppercorns are soaked in water to remove the outer peel for the creation of white pepper. This is known as the rotting or retting process of Indian Pepper. This is due to the peppercorns fermenting in the water for up to a week. The flavor of the pepper is altered as a result. During fermentation, fecal off-flavors are frequently generated, giving white pepper its distinct flavor that many Westerners dislike.
You’ve never had a fecal-off flavor in white pepper? That’s because most white pepper marketed in Europe and the United States hasn’t been fermented. Indian pepper, for example, can be heated before drying to soften and then remove the skin. Alternatively, the skin can be peeled off using enzymes. You can also mechanically peel dried black pepper to make white pepper.
The most crucial processing stage is drying the pepper berries. Indian pepper is traditionally sun-dried for 4 to 7 days to reduce the moisture content from 60-70% to less than 15%. To obtain an equal drying outcome and to prevent mold growth, the pepper should be flipped frequently while drying. The pepper berries can be sun-dried or machine-dried.
During drying, enzymes and atmospheric oxygen oxidize the green chlorophyll pigment and other phenolic components, turning black pepper. The red hue of fully developed Indian pepper, on the other hand, is not affected by drying.
To minimize the bacterial population, certain Indian pepper is blanched before sun-drying. Growers, on the other hand, must exercise extreme caution with this process. If the pepper is blanched for an extended period of time, the enzyme activity is decreased to a bare minimum. As a result, the pepper does not develop its trademark black hue.
After drying, impurities such as spikes, stones, or soil particles must be removed from the peppercorns. After that, the pepper is graded and packed.
Grade of Indian pepper
There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about the types of Indian pepper available for sale in India. Particularly in the United States, spice dealers like to tell stories about how Tellicherry pepper is only grown in the Indian town of Tellicherry or how it is grown with greater quality standards than Malabar pepper. All of these are misconceptions.
In India, more than 100 different cultivars of the Indian pepper plant (Piper nigrum) are grown. Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and the North Eastern States are the key pepper-producing states. The most prevalent pepper plant varieties include Kuttanadan, Balankotta, Neelamani, Narayakodi, Arakulamundi, Kalluvally, and Aimpiriyan. However, in most situations, the type of cultivar or the region in which the pepper was grown has little bearing on the labelling of the pepper in Europe or America.
The size and bulk density of Indian pepper is used to grade it. Black pepper is the most often exported variety of pepper from India. The peppercorns are classified according to their quality as follows:
- Light pepper
- Malabar pepper
- Tellicherry pepper
Light pepper is typically marketed as black pepper with no other specifications and is considered a standard quality product. Malabar and Tellicherry peppercorns meet a higher quality level and are therefore considered luxury items. The different grades of Indian pepper are obtained by sifting the peppercorns through a sieve and sorting them by size. They are all derived from the same plant.
The product specs for Indian peppercorns are shown in the table below:
Why are huge peppercorns with a high bulk density thought to be of excellent quality? The answer is straightforward: the maturity of the Indian pepper. Black pepper is gathered when the peppercorns are fully developed but not entirely matured. The peppercorns become denser during the maturing phase.
You may be familiar with this occurrence from coffee production. The crop is split into coffee cherries by floating it in water. Ripe cherries are denser than water and sink to the bottom, whereas unripe or overripe cherries float on top.
The density of peppercorns rises as they mature. From the time the peppercorns attain full maturity until they have fully ripened and turned red, the temperature remains quite consistent. However, if the Indian pepper is picked before they reach full maturity, their density is reduced. A high density implies that the peppercorns were chosen at the optimal stage of maturation, ensuring optimum flavor.
When Indian pepper for black pepper is left to ripen on the vine for a little longer than usual, they grow in size but lose density since they don’t add any more bulk. They are offered as red or white pepper when completely ripe. Black Tellicherry peppercorns are harvested before they are fully ripe and have a higher maturity level than light or Malabar peppercorns.
If you have a fruit tree in your garden, you are aware that the fruits do not ripen evenly. However, you normally harvest all of them at the same time. Some may be overripe at that moment, while others may be underripe. This is why there are different grades of Indian pepper. When the first peppercorns on the vine turn red or yellow, the spikes are trimmed. At this moment, the majority of the peppercorns are still green. When you dry them, they turn black. Generally, the larger they are, the more mature they are. However, they will be tiny and have a low density if they are not fully developed.
Main markets for Indian pepper
In the first six months of 2022, India exported 11,702 tons of Indian pepper, a 3.8% increase over the same period last year. Pepper shipments to the United States hit a high of 2,324 tons, a 44.6% decrease from the previous year. Pepper exports to the UK market climbed by 6.8%, while exports to the Philippines increased by 31.8%, with exports to the UAE increasing by 102.1%. (According to Indian Ministry of Commerce data).
Rising domestic demand and stockpiling have kept Indian pepper prices high, encouraging illegal imports. Following the removal of COVID-19 limits and a resurgence in demand, black pepper prices reached Rs 500 per kg in November last year. On November 24, 2022, it reached a high of Rs 532 per kilogram because of concerns about a smaller harvest.
However, production this year is expected to be typical, at roughly 65,000 tonnes. The introduction of a new Indian pepper crop, on the other hand, has not brought down prices, the average black pepper price is currently hovering in the Rs 485-505 per kg area.
Please contact K-Agriculture Factory – a leading Vietnamese pepper exporter – to get the latest news about the pepper market in the world.
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Leading Indian pepper exporters
Top 3 Indian pepper exporters with good product quality and good customer service.
Pisum Food Services Private Limited
Pisum Food Services Private Limited was established in May 2015. Pisum Foods is a BTW Group (founded in 2011) project that focuses on food services. Pisum Foods is a leading exporter of various types of Indian pepper, pulses, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and many more products to a variety of locations throughout the world. They have evolved to be one of the go-to companies for food export from India thanks to countless collaborations with buyers from other nations.
Shri Sagas Connect Pvt. Ltd.
Shri Sagas Connect Pvt. Ltd. is a well-known name in Mumbai (Maharashtra, India) with a long history of providing excellent quality Whole Spices and Grounded Spices to clients. They have provided the market with high-quality and reasonably priced items such as Indian white pepper and black pepper, lemon, tomato, watermelon, red chili, and many others. So far, their systematic approach to business transactions has allowed them to delight customers. In addition, their organization offers a secure packaging solution.
Ryushi Vikram Pvt. Ltd.,
Ryushi Vikram Pvt. Ltd. was founded in 2019 with the goal of providing high-quality products such as rice, nuts, seeds, Indian pepper, powdered spices, and so on. Their products are subjected to rigorous quality control, ensuring that they are pure and of the highest quality. To ensure that their consumers receive only the best, they use organic and naturally cultivated products. They supply and export products to many locations and have a large client base.
They are gradually increasing our business by adding new items and serving more customers. Their items are well-packaged to ensure that they reach their clients safely and that proper reselling can take place. They have been expanding the places where they can supply their products and grow their business.
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